Mayor Landrieu’s Legacy Awards honors Sybil Morial, Other Extraordinary New Orleanians

Eleven extraordinary New Orleanians were feted last month at Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s second annual Legends Awards.

The event was held at the well-appointed and festively decorated Gallier Hall.

Honorees included Sybil Morial, Germaine Bazzle, Sydney Besthoff, Ella Brennan, Fats Domino, Audrey Flynn, Robert Merrick, Deacon John, Art Neville, Admiral Stephen Rochon and Jerry Romig.

Historic New Orleans Conflict Between the Panthers and Police Revisited in Dramatic Reading

“Showdown in Desire”, a provocative, original performance piece by two New Orleans actor/activists Oliver Thomas and Kathy Randels will recreate the 1970 showdown in the Desire housing project between the Black Panthers and the New Orleans Police Department.

This event is a fundraiser for Community Mediation Services (CMS). The mission of CMS is to promote and provide mediation and restorative services throughout the greater New Orleans area to prevent conflict or to resolve it peacefully and with justice.

The encounter between the Black Panthers and NOPD is sometimes called “the massacre that did not occur” because despite dire predictions, it ended without bloodshed.

Following the dramatic dialogue, a panel with participants from the actual showdown will be on hand after the performance to answer questions and discuss lessons learned then and after 45 years of hindsight about community-police relations.

The reading “Showdown in Desire” takes place at 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 21, at Ashe Cultural Arts Center, 1712 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd. Tickets are $30 each. They can be purchased in advance by contacting Orissa Arend at arendsaxer@bellsouth.net, on Eventbrite at, or at the door if seating is available.

Dillard University Athletics Department Announces Honorees for 8th Annual Billy Ray Hobley Scholarship Gala

Dillard University’s Department of Athletics will host the eighth annual Billy Ray Hobley Scholarship Gala at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 26 in the atrium of the Professional Schools and Sciences Building Atrium, honoring George Johnson, Dr. Robin Martin, and Laverne Saulny for their hard work, dedication and service.

This is the University’s annual athletics fundraising event for scholarships and kicks off the Allstate Sugar Bowl Bleu Devil Classic weekend, featuring Dillard’s men’s and women’s basketball teams versus crosstown rival, Xavier University.

Two awards will be given to three honorees.

George Johnson, ‘70, who was a member of the Dillard Bleu Devil men’s basketball team from 1966 to 1970, and Dr. Robin Martin, an assistant professor in the College of Education, Criminal Justice and Human Services and Educational Leadership at the University of Cincinnati, will be honored with the Legacy Award. Johnson had a 13-year career in the National Basketball Association that includes winning a championship in 1975 with the Golden State Warriors. Johnson recently retired again in 2015 after working 21 years for the National Basketball Players Association. Martin previously served as Dillard’s athletic director/head women’s basketball coach, 2004-2006, assistant women’s basketball coach, 2001-2003, and the athletic director at Holy Name University in Oakland, Calif. Martin is also president/CEO of Leading Beyond the Post, Inc., a full service leadership development and executive coaching company.

Laverne Saulny will be honored with the Bleu Flame of Excellence Award. Saulny is the director of the purchasing department for St. John the Baptist Parish. She previously served as the New Orleans Area regional manager for former U.S. Sen. Mary L. Landrieu. The former All-American high school basketball player also She served on the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation Board of Directors for 10 years.

Dillard University junior and Houma native Houston Chatman, a 6’2’’ a guard on the Blue Devils Mens’ basketball team from Houma and a preseason All-GCAC selection will receive this year’s The Billy Ray Hobley Endowed scholarship, which is awarded annually to student-athlete who has at least a 2.5 grade point average and embodies the spirit of Billy Ray Hobley.

The New Orleans Tribune

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